Town chief wants a return to five substitutes due to 'relentless' Championship schedule becoming a danger to his players

Hatters boss Nathan JonesHatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Luton boss praises much-changed side for picking up Robins win

Luton boss Nathan Jones has once more called for the use of five substitutions due to the current schedule of matches which he believes is a danger to his players.

The Hatters took to the field last night for their fifth game in 18 days following a Christmas of inactivity due to Covid outbreaks and now face the same again ahead of what will be a first chance to rest following their home game with Birmingham City on Saturday, February 12.

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Having been a long advocate of a larger match-day squad and the ability to make more changes during a game, which was the case last season, Jones wants to see that return for the second half of the Championship campaign in a bid to protect his players.

When asked he thought the amount of matches was dangerous, the Town chief said: “Absolutely, it's putting players under too much duress, too much stress and it can't happen.

“I think five subs has got to be in.

"You can’t change the schedule because in this time with Covid, hopefully Covid will be up and over with in the next few weeks, so next season we’ll be fine.

"But in terms of now, something has to be done now, and I think five substitutes so you can use your squad, it worked after lockdown and it’ll work now.

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"I don’t read social media, but someone on social media was saying about they should be able to do it, but whoever that clown is, he’s never ever played a Championship football game.

"He’s never come in with the intensity and we’ll invite him in for a game and let’s see how long he lasts, we’ll invite him into a training session.

"The shifts the boys are putting in, to do what we do is quite phenomenal and that’s the proud thing that they keep digging in, keep doing the right things and that’s why we are where are."

A chaos in point for the Hatters was having to make six changes for the 2-1 victory over Bristol City at Kenilworth Road last night, from the defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday.

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One would have happened regardless, Reece Burke suspended after his red card, but injuries picked up by Sonny Bradley and Jordan Clark meant Jones had to shuffle his pack quite considerably.

He brought in Gabe Osho, who hadn’t started a game since November 7, plus Glen Rea and Tom Lockyer, who both hadn't had any first team action since facing Cardiff on November 27.

Luke Berry was back for his first start since October, while Elijah Adebayo and James Bree were also recalled too, as on the absentees, Jones continued: “They’ve picked up injuries, Sonny has been playing with a torn groin anyway, so he told us yesterday he couldn’t do it, he tried to train but couldn’t.

"Then Jordan Clark's disappointed not to play on Saturday, but picked up something in the game and hasn’t, so really, really unfortunate.

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"Cameron Jerome, fourth game in big succession, risking injury, Eli’s put in a big shift, we’ve had to rest him on the weekend.

“They’re not long term injuries, but you just never know and it’s relentless, it really is relentless.

"The rule of five substitutes should be changed, especially now with the Covid, as people are now playing catch-up.

"It’s all right if you’re a Premier League club, you play 38 games, weeks to prepare, they’ve got a little mini break now, but with us it’s constant.

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"We’ve got Saturday, Tuesday again, then the FA Cup, then Tuesday again, so it’s real tough.”

Jones was eager to praise the efforts of those who had come in from the cold to get through the game in midweek, as the victory was enough to take Town up to 10th place.

He added: "We’ll give them the credit for the fitness levels and the behind the scenes work that we do.

"We didn’t play well tonight, so we won’t be shouting stuff from the rooftops, but it shows that physically we can cope.

"They’ll be better for that game and hopefully we’ll be a bit more fluent on the weekend (against Blackburn) as we’ll need to be."